Best Time to Invest or Start Investing Money

People often ask me “when is the best time to invest money”, or “is now a good time to start investing my money”. Now, in 2014, may be the best time to invest or start investing money… but only if you have your ducks in a row.Many people start investing money prematurely – before they have their financial house in order. Then, they continue investing until they either want their money back to buy something, need their money back to pay unexpected bills, or start losing money. In other words, they get started before they have their ducks in a row. Three factors will determine the best time to invest or start investing money. And, no, the best time to invest does not depend on the state of the economy or the trend of the stock market.Before you start investing you should have a reliable source of income and a good cash reserve to cover financial emergencies as well as purchases you plan to make. Third, you should have a basic knowledge of financial terms as well as of stocks, bonds and mutual funds before you invest a serious (for you) amount of money. Even if you plan to use the services of a financial planner, you will need to be able to communicate with him or her.Saving money to establish a cash reserve is the first step for many people. Once you start investing money for a long-term goal like retirement, you don’t want to interrupt the process because you ran low on cash. This can be costly, especially if your timing is bad and you need to liquidate with a loss.The best time to invest is when you have your financial house in order. On the other hand, the best time to invest money in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds is another question. For example, 2014 might not be the best time to invest in stocks, or even bonds. But you need to make your money grow. That’s why you need to get a handle on mutual funds, and the process called asset allocation. Mutual funds are the best way to start investing money. They offer average investors professional money management, and a diversified portfolio, usually at a reasonable cost.Asset allocation is the single most important consideration when you invest money. You want to spread your money across the asset classes in order to both make your money grow, and keep your risk moderate. Mutual funds make this easy to do. They offer stock funds, bond funds and money market funds. If you want to start investing in 2014 (or just start over) put equal amounts of money in a diversified (large-cap) stock fund, an intermediate-term bond fund, and a money market fund. This asset allocation is simple and should keep you out of serious trouble, even if 2014 turns out to be a rough year for investors.No one knows the best time to invest in stocks or bonds, but the best time to invest or start investing money is NOW if you have your ducks in a row. NOW is also the best time to increase your investor IQ by learning more about investment basics and investing strategy.

The Benefits of Making Holiday Travel Plans Early

“But it’s only autumn. It’s too early to make holiday plans!” you may think. However, a word to the wise: when it comes to planning your holidays, it’s never too early.For most people, the holidays usually mean travel of some sort: whether you’re coming home, visiting distant relatives you haven’t seen in years, or going on a family trip abroad. As anyone who has ever travelled during the high season can tell you, booking travel arrangements at the last minute is the very definition of insanity. You are not only competing with thousands of other people who are trying to book their arrangements (including flights, transfers, and accommodation), you also have to deal with higher rates due to the peak season and fewer available seats and rooms due to reservations made in advance.Of course, some people may worry that if they book too early, they may have to cancel or reschedule if something comes up. But the simple act of purchasing insurance for your family holiday means that you can be covered even for that aspect.Planning AheadLife is unpredictable and, unfortunately, no matter how carefully and thoroughly you may plan for life’s little foibles, they still often have a way of taking you by surprise. It can’t be denied that there are a great many thing that can go wrong during a trip, including lost luggage, illness, and cancelled flights due to inclement weather, among myriad other things. Changes in weather and natural disasters also bring their share of potential travel hiccups.Cover the Aspects You CanWhile nobody can prepare for everything, investing in insurance for your family holiday not only means you are covered financially in the event your trip is cancelled or cut short or you encounter the issue of lost or damaged property, but also that you have access to appropriate medical and emergency care should one of your family members fall ill. Depending on the policy for the insurance for your family holiday, you can also be protected against liability in the event of accidents. You can even have access to emergency evacuation in worst-case scenarios, such as natural catastrophes, terrorist attacks, political unrest, and other life-threatening emergencies. (Don’t let these scare you, though. There’s a very slim chance of any of these happening, but isn’t it great to know you’ll be protected just in case?)Better Safe than SorryWorry is the greatest enemy of a successful holiday. Parents are very good at worrying, it just comes with the territory; but having fun with your children is just as important as worrying about them. Investing in travel insurance for your family holiday means that you can spend less time worrying and more time having fun with your family! So go ahead: play in the snow, discover a strange new culture, eat exotic foods, and have an adrenalin-fuelled adventure. As long as you take the appropriate steps in the planning stages, you can relax and get on with the business of fun.

Dangers of Assuming Medicare Covers Everything – Elderly Home Health Care Vs Assisted Living Costs

Elderly home care is and will continue to be much more cost effective now and in the future. When considering the cost of elder home care versus assisted living costs, there are many factors to take into consideration. One consideration is to understand the trends of the health care industry, so that you can financially plan for your future. Many believe that Medicare will cover everything they need as they age. Although many realize that they need to financially prepare for the future, most do not investigate the cost and options of future care needs. Many do not feel that they can afford to invest in long term care insurance.In 2008, Prudential Insurance did a study on long term care. The results, which will be followed up every year, had some alarming information regarding the costs that will pay for care and services as we age. The information from this and other studies is important to assure successful planning for our future care needs.It was noted that elderly assisted living homes have seen the largest increase in costs over a 2 year period. The average daily cost of living in an elderly assisted living facility increased to almost $39,000 per year. This is an average rate of just over $100 per day.There was an astonishing average increase of a 15% in rates for the elderly assisted living facilities that provide care for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.Elderly home health care has had the smallest rate increase of all the providers. The rate of elderly home health care has had a 5% increase over the past two years and a 17% increase over the last 7 years.The costs to have a certified nursing assistant provide elder home care averages $21 per hour. A certified nursing assistant provides services such as: bathing and dressing. The services of elder home care are ordered by a physician and usually paid for by insurance. These services provided by elderly home health care are intermittent and are offered for a short period of time.Another study, also done in 2008 was preformed by the Genworth Financial Group. This study explored the cost of care that covers the non skilled side of elder home care. This is the largest growing portion of the elder home health care services. This growth, is due in part to many aging seniors desire to remain in their homes as long as possible.The average cost for homemaker services in the elder home care sector is $18 an hour. There has been a rate increase of 4% over the past year. A homemaker provides some housekeeping duties, companionship, and assistance with cooking, if needed. They may also run short errands when required.Elderly home care also provides home health aides. They provide basic assistance with bathing and dressing. A home health aide averages a rate $19 an hour. This shows an increase of 3% in just one year.Met Life Market surveyed adult day services in 2008. The results from this survey show the average daily cost for adult day care services is $64. This shows an increase of 5% in the past year.Adult day care services are a growing trend in the aging health care market. Adult day care is a cost effective way keep an aging senior at homeFor caregivers, utilizing adult day care services permits them to continue to work. Many caregivers take time to do things to they need to take care of and get a break from their care giving duties.The costs of elder home care services will continue to rise. Surveys show that the trends will continue. The largest increases will be in the assisted living and nursing home areas of elderly home health care services.The past five years has seen an increase in elderly assisted living rates jump by 41%. Over the past five years, there has been an increase in nursing homes rates of over 30%. Over half the surveyed facilities expect to increase their rates, again, over the next year. The good news is that one in four elder home care providers plan to increase their rates in the next year.Being aware of the cost of elderly home care and elderly assisted living can assist you in planning for your future needs. Educate yourself on the various options available and how you can utilize those services for future needs. It is important to be proactive and investigate avenues to pay for your future health care needs.